Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Zipped Up

In general, I don't like zippers. They get stuck, they break, they're a huge bother to sew in. However, there is undeniably something fashionable about them on men's jackets. Check out Jared Flood's version of Paton's Urban Aran here. Note how the zipper opens from both ends. Quite different from the Mr. Rogers look. So, when James asked for something similar, I gave in. However, I wanted to insert the zipper in such a way that the teeth wouldn't show when the jacket was closed. I put my schoolgirl sewing classes to good use. Here's how I did it.

Front borders knitted on and whipstitched closed with contrasting yarn.

Zipper pinned on with edges whipstitched in place with thread.

Zipper machine stitched on and contrast yarn removed. Note how the machine stitches disappear in the "ditch" between the border and the main body.
 If I hadn't had a sewing machine or the skills to use one, I could have done the final bit of sewing by hand. It's a lot faster by machine, though. You have to be careful not to catch the back of the jacket. Very tidy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Anticipation and Speculation

As I look at my stash of yarn I am filled with hopeful thoughts of intriguing possibilities.

I realized, as I was walking to the bakery, that that is also probably why I love living in a neighbourhood where every house is different. The doorways, in particular, attract me. I wonder what lies behind them, what sorts of people live there, and what mysteries they hide. I imagine all sorts of possibilities.

I love this pinkish brick house with its iron railings.

This gated carriageway stirs my imagination.

Who lives behind this immaculate entranceway?

Steep stairs and aged vines.
The starting of a new project fills me with a similar sort of pleasurable speculative anticipation. Will I encounter roadblocks and, if so, will I be able to puzzle my way through them? Will the finished project work out as imagined? If not, will the result be something equally pleasing or even better?

I've just begun a new project. Can't blog about it because it's going to become a submission for publication, but I can show this much:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Walk in the Park

I made the 5-minute walk over to Grant Hall at Queen's University for a flu shot this morning. This is supposed to be the last of our Indian summer days, so I used the opportunity to take some photos along the way. First, I strolled down Bagot St. to the Cricket Field, where I had a great view of the Courthouse. The site was originally intended for the Parliament of Upper and Lower Canada (Kingston was the capital in the early 1840's).

Frontenac County Courthouse

On the other side of Bagot St., I noticed that the City has begun to set up the boards for what will be a skating rink.
Rink boards in background, sign commemorating 1837 militia garrison in foreground

 I crossed Barrie St. and entered Queen's campus, passing Summerhill, now the home of the alumni offices.

Students were walking to their morning classes.

Arriving at Grant Hall, I took my place in the line and was through pretty quickly. Very efficient. I worked on closing up the toe to my second Pillar Sock while I waited the mandatory 15 minutes after my shot. Had fun listening to a conversation between retired professors.
Then, back home to lunch and the final grafting of the toe and blocking. And here is the result:

Can't say how much I love the garter stitch edges on the heels--so incredibly easy to pick up the stitches for the gusset. Also, I love the V heels. You just knit to the centre of the heel flap to start; how easy is that? Just a walk in the park! Plus, I have narrow heels anyway, so they're a great fit. Thanks, Deb and Brenda.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Indian Summer

The last two days have been an unexpected gift--frosty mornings followed by brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures. With Bill attending a conference at Queen's (something to do with public finance), I decided that the weather demanded a road trip. So off to Picton, in Prince Edward County, I went. The drive along Lake Ontario was glorious, with the water sparkling on my left. Then I came to vineyards and orchards and finally the Glenora ferry. While I waited for the ferry, I worked on a sock from Deb and Lynda Gemmell's new sock book.
Here is the sock on the hood of my car, waiting for the arrival of the ferry. And here is the ferry itself.

Once in Picton, I window shopped, visited the Rose Haven Farm Store, browsed in French Country, and bought a bagel with cheddar cheese and a coffee. Then I drove home.
In the evening, while Bill had dinner at the Faculty Club, I paid $10 to hear violinist David Stewart play a concert featuring the music of Ysaye. Very enjoyable since I love Ysaye and one does not hear his music often enough, especially the solo works. I sat in the back and knitted (quietly) some more on the sock.
Today, another day of warmth and blue skies. After having the eavestroughs cleaned, I wandered down to the Kingston market. Lots of squashes on display.

And apples.

And pickles and jams.
I bought this gorgeous red dogwood to dress up my back deck for the holidays.

Finally, I returned home to admire my freshly blocked sock. (I always block the first one before starting in on the second, just to be sure of the fit.) Don't you love DK weight sock yarn? It makes socks that can fit in your shoes, and it knits up so fast!

"Pillar" patterned sock in Trekking 6-ply tweed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The End of Autumn

 I love this time of year, when the most of the leaves have been blown off the trees and all that's left on the sumac bushes are their red berries. The light is different and magical, now that the leaves are gone, as we wait for winter to descend upon us. This has been a week to say goodbye to the garden, to plant bulbs, and gather up fallen leaves. It's been a week to get out the gloves and scarves, including my newly finished lacy baktus scarf.

Lacy Baktus, knitted in Shibui merino sock yarn.
As a way of putting the old season to bed, preparatory to going forward into the new one, here are some shots of the old garden in Ottawa and the new one in Kingston.

Foxgloves in our Ottawa garden
The garden gate, Ottawa
Hydrangeas showing their autumnal colours by my front door in Kingston

Hollyhocks across the street from my house in Ottawa
Mackay Lake last fall, Ottawa
Irises on my front lawn in Ottawa

The maple tree up the street from my Kingston house

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In the Knit Lab

Last week I was in Toronto, visiting my kids and knitting stores. At Lettuce Knit, I picked up some of Berroco's Campus. I fell in love with the earthy tones of this bulky, thick and thin wool/alpaca/acrylic blend. So, now I'm doing experiments with it. I've tried it on 6.5 mm needles as well as 8 mm needles. Why can't I find such a thing as a 7 mm needle? I guess it's like having to buy shoes only in whole sizes when you're really a half size. Sigh!

I've settled on the 6.5 mm, but unfortunately  my photo doesn't show the depth of the colours of this yarn. I'm thinking about a project, but it's early days and I could easily get distracted...
Meanwhile, the squirrels around our place are also feeling the need to stay warm. Recently, I started to bag the leaves that had accumulated in our little courtyard at the back of the house. The bag was sitting, waiting to be hauled out to the front curb on leaf collection day. Then, yesterday, I heard a tearing sound and looked out to see a squirrel racing clumsily over the neighbours' lawns with a large sheet of brown paper. THIS is what is left in back of our house.